The University of Oxford has made its first foray into the massive open online course (Mooc) world, after announcing a new partnership with US online learning platform edX.
As part of the agreement, Oxford will deliver its first Mooc, “From Poverty to Prosperity: Understanding Economic Development”, from February 2017.
Sarah Whatmore, pro vice-chancellor for education, said the collaboration “will build capacity for the design and delivery of a range of other online education experiences” as Oxford develops its digital education strategy.
“Oxford already has a strong reputation for delivering open educational resources that are used by students, academics and the public worldwide,” she said.
The Mooc, which is led by Sir Paul Collier, professor of economics and public policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, is now open for enrolments. Ngaire Woods, dean of the Blavatnik School, viewed the new Mooc as an “effective way to expand access to knowledge beyond the classrooms of Oxford”, and to help people “understand how their community and country can flourish wherever they are in the world”.
Anant Agarwal, chief executive of edX and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the company was honoured to welcome the “oldest university in the English-speaking world” to edX’s global consortium.
“Our collaboration begins with content from the Blavatnik School to provide our nine million learners with access to an innovative programme that offer insights from a range of academic disciplines and a strong global outlook,” he said.
“We are excited to partner with Oxford to further our shared mission to improve lives and increase access to high quality education for learners everywhere.”
The announcement comes just weeks after Oxford took top spot in the 2016-2017 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the first time in the ranking’s 12-year history that a UK university has reached the summit.